Mikoyan MiG-29K (Fulcrum-D) Carrier-Based Multi-Role Fighter
The Mikoyan MiG-29K Fulcrum-D is a highly modified and navalized form of the successful Soviet-era MiG-29 Fulcrum air superiority fighter.
Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
The Mikoyan MiG-29K (NATO = "Fulcrum-D") is a navalized variant of the successful Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrum family of fighters. The navalized form was originally developed to a 1980s Soviet Navy carrier-based fighter requirement. While the Soviet Navy eventually settled on the larger Sukhoi Su-27 "Flanker" series (as the "Su-33"), the MiG-29K design has recently seen growing interest by both the Russian and Indian navies thanks largely to the acquisition by the Indian Navy of the ex-Kiev class Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier (to become the INS Vikramaditya in December of 2012). A dozen MiG-29K aircraft were included as part of the deal due to their more compact size, lower procurement cost and advanced capabilities. In turn, the Russian Navy has decided to replace its aged and exceedingly expensive fleet of Su-33 carrier-based fighters with the newer budget-friendly MiG-29K models by 2015.
Both Sukhoi and Mikoyan, longtime aircraft suppliers to the Soviet/Russian Air Force (and notable rivals to one another), submitted their proposed designs to the Soviet Navy for a standard carrier-based fighter platform. The original land-based Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker was developed to counter the American McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle while the Mikoyan MiG-29 Fulcrum was developed to counter the American General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. As such, the Su-27 was a much larger aircraft with broadened inherent capabilities while the MiG-29 was noticeably more compact and cheaper to produce and maintain. Both Soviet-era designs proved successful (and highly capable) and went on to see considerable sales to Soviet-allied states and nations. Within time, the Soviet Navy required a similarly capable carrier-based fighter and the two Soviet concerns took to modifying their land-based designs as the MiG-29M and Su-27K respectively. The Soviet Navy eventually settled on the larger Su-27-based design though no more than 25 of the Su-33 were ever procured for the Soviet Navy's four Kiev-class aircraft carriers.